Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Xen

Sometimes, things just take time. When an amateur team remake an FPS classic up to AAA standards in a modern engine in their spare time? Yeah, that’ll take a while, but the patience seems to be paying off for fans of Black Mesa. While so so far the ambitious (and Valve-endorsed) Half-Life remake has mostly adhered to the structure of the original, developers Crowbar Collective reckon that they can do better with Xen. While the core concepts and story beats are still present, everything else is being re-designed from the ground up. It’s looking lovely, and nearing completion.

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Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

The best shooters endure. While the state of the art moves on in other genres and leaves old designs in the dust, it’s as fun to fire a well-made shotgun from an early 90s FPS as from one released today. For that reason, this list runs the gamut from genre classics to those released in the last year. There’s bound to be something for you inside.

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Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brock Wilbur)

Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 6.10.17 PM

One of my favorite parts of getting a press release is getting a press release that doesn’t reveal any information about the game itself. You get a vague promise about a game that might happen someday if some people get together. Normally, I don’t give that much of my time. This announcement is different. There’s a new MMO and the folks behind it represent some of my favorite games in recent memory. I think you’ll be stoked on this too.

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Half-Life

Occult Scrim looks like a fun twist on Half Life: it's not quite a fully top-down shooter, but it's nearly there, with the camera floating way overhead. Your job is to blast through enemies to rack up points, which you'll spend on new weapons and items when you return to your base, an armoury.

It's still very early days for the mod, and it doesn't yet have a release date, but it looks remarkably polished. The perspective works well, and your character—a black ops assassin—automatically adjusts their aim up and down depending on where your enemies are. It looks like it plays far quicker than the base game, with lots of enemies on screen at one time. 

The camera has two positions: you can bring it slightly closer to the action if you want to get extra precise. Even when it's zoomed out, the guns feel meaty and solid. I'm not sure how many of the weapons are new and how many come from the base game, but I'm impressed nonetheless.

Enemy behaviour has been tweaked from the original to make them more challenging to fight, and they'll do things like roll and strafe out of the line of fire. You'll face bosses, too, like the one below. 

Click here for its ModDB page. It's one I'll be keeping an eye on as it comes together.

Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

ss_8e58d9f1fc1c91d655e8817847773e16e9774cfe

Folks, I think we’re going to have to let Half-Life go. It’s been over a decade since Valve did anything with the license (beyond cross-promotion deals), and the seemingly posthumous leak of the sequel’s planned story beats cemented the sense that the series wouldn’t be returning any time soon.

Seemingly disinterested in using it themselves, Valve have been approving the use of the Half-Life setting and assets (if not the name) for use in commercial fan-works, Hunt Down The Freeman feels like it might just be the last nail in the coffin for the series, if public response thusfar has been any indication.

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Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

A proper playable demo of Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition is coming next week, containing the RPG’s first chapter, following the recent benchmark tool. A demo! In this day and age! Bless their hearts. Square Enix have talked a lot about wanting to do the PC version right, mods and all, and they do seem to be going for it. They’re even teaming up with iconic PC chap Gordon Freeman, adding the Half-Life hero’s HEV suit, glasses, and crowbar to FFXV’s Steam version. Well, he’s not using them, is he? (more…)

Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Warrior princess.

If your Christmas plans include gathering the family around the meat tree and singing songs celebrating the return of our saviour, Gordon Freeman, I have bad news: Black Mesa is delaying the launch of its final chapters. The sanctioned fan-made Half-Life remake had previously planned to launch the remade Xen levels in mid-Deceber but yeah, that’s not happening any more. Why? Because they’re still not ready, obvs. But heck, it’s been two years since Black Mesa hit early access with most of Half-Life remade (and developers Crowbar Collective have added a bit more since) so another delay doesn’t make much of a difference. (more…)

Half-Life

Way back in 2012, the Black Mesa mod for Half-Life had lofty plans to entirely rebuild the game in the Source engine.

If you'd been awaiting the release of much-anticipated the Xen levels, we have bad news—it's been delayed again, despite the mod moving from a free-to-play to Early Access model in order to take on new staff and strengthen the development team.

"We are truly sorry for getting everyone's hopes up and then delaying... again," said project lead Adam Engels via a recent statement. "We worked very hard to make December, but we are not yet ready. As a team, we take FULL responsibility for that. We have an internal deadline we are confident in, and we will be getting everyone more details as we get closer to that date.

"Thank you again to our community and Early Access supporters. The funding from Early Access has allowed us to hire many new talented developers, and has allowed older developers to put more time in the project. Simply put, Xen has proven to be an enormous undertaking, and while we are managing it to the best of our ability, it is proving to take longer than we estimated."

But while Xen release has been pushed back, there will nevertheless be an update next month. Focusing initially on improving stability and "enabling the new tech on the Earthbound section of the game", the final chapters will drop once everything's "fully stabilised". Tweaks include lens flare, texture blends, and improvements to the dynamic lighting—for the full breakdown, pop by the update on Steam.

You can pick up the Black Mesa mod now for $8, saving 60 percent off the full price. 

Half-Life 2 also continues to thrive, and Gunship Mark II's work-in-progress Half-Life 2: MMod is also gearing up for release.

Thanks, GameInformer.

Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

best-pc-games-ever

There are more wonderful games being released on PC each month than ever before. In such a time of plenty, it’s important that you spend your time as wisely as possible. Thankfully, we’re here to help. What follows are our picks for the best PC games ever made. (more…)

Half-Life

Though the chances of us ever playing a new, official Half-Life game again are slim, Valve’s seminal series still has its hooks in us, as evidenced by the latest issue of PC Gamer. Ex-Valve employees are similarly plagued by visions of Gordon Freeman, the latest being Cayle George, whose free Half-Life 2 mod is now available on Steam. 

Half-Life: C.A.G.E.D. follows hot on the heels of the game jam inspired by the tweaked Episode 3 story synopsis from Marc Laidlaw, though it has nothing to do with Episode 3, instead being a prison escape mod, full of shooting and environmental puzzles. 

George’s worked with Valve, Monolith and Guerilla Games, and was a designer on Portal 2 and Team Fortress 2, as well as being a Half-Life modder before that. 

The short, single-player episode comes with developer commentary, along with a soundtrack from Lazerhawk. You can download it from Steam for free, but you will need a copy of Half-Life. 

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